BISBEE, Ariz. — Authorities have started an investigation into the blaze Wednesday that caused substantial damage to the Bisbee City Hall.

Investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the scene of the devastated city building on Thursday after the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office requested federal assistance the day before, the Sierra Vista Herald reported . The cause of the fire is unknown.

Sheriff Mark Dannels said the county fire investigator started work on Thursday with a structural engineer and the two ATF agents. He asked that residents be patient while investigators work to determine the cause of the blaze.

“The process will be slow and methodical due to safety concerns, and there will be some wait times as the investigation progresses,” Dannels said. “We appreciate the assistance that is being provided and the cooperation of all city officials and personnel during this time.”

Interim City Manager Robert Smith said an assessment of the structural integrity of the building must be conducted before they can examine what survived the fire. City officials are working to relocate administrative offices into space at the county government building.

The City Hall is now a crime scene, Bisbee Police Chief Albert Echave said. A chain-link fence surrounded the property on Thursday.


Information from: Sierra Vista Herald, http://www.svherald.com